For both intrepid and newbie travelers, the question remains: just what exactly compels one to begin and continue traveling? What is the animating force that moves one’s feet to explore and re-explore? Ultimately, is it the age-old quest for the journey or the destination — or should a fruitful objective be a combination of both?
Let us build on some common objectives of traveling you yourself might have. See how magic appears by occasionally diverging from these travel objectives. From solo traveling to family sojourns, from traveling for its own sake to traveling for recognition, from the value of flexibility to the importance of travel destinations, below are possible extensions to some common travel objectives — a warm invitation for you to make traveling an extra memorable and magical adventure.
Solo shouldn’t mean lonely (or scary)
One great advantage of traveling solo is having the time to enjoy at one’s own pace, without the usual hurried tempo when traveling with a partner, family, friends, or group. Yet a corollary concern arises: solo-traveling runs the risk of being lonely and anxiety-provoking. In some cases, it may also mean a little more expensive since there is no one to split expenses with. This of course has not discouraged a growing number of people who are becoming courageous in plunging into the surprising delights occasioned by solo-traveling. A very recent international study shows that among first-time travelers, going solo has become a global trend, increasing to a 37% rate in 2015 from 16% in 2013. The increase is more than double!
Photo courtesy of The Wandering Angel via Flickr
If the global rise in the number of solo-travelers does little in appeasing your worries of trying it out solo, then a good starting point might be to induct yourself to a travel destination, instead of going somewhere totally off the beaten path. Herein lies the importance of travel destinations: they have with them the experience and knowledge of previous travelers you can use as guidepost. In many cases, travel destinations also have a more established system to welcome visitors. This perhaps explains, for instance, why traveling solo in Boracay, a popular travel destination, remains to be among the top choice of activities by both neophyte and seasoned travelers. As is becoming more of the case today, there is also the emerging concept of affordable luxury, which appears more in the checklist of solo-travelers and providing anew some explanation why travelers keep coming back to Boracay and other travel destinations.
But whether exploring the beauty of the familiar or biting the bullet by going somewhere relatively unknown, solo-traveling as an objective is less daunting if emphasis is placed on the whole traveling experience rather than on the word “solo.” After all, a solo-traveler need not encase his or herself in a shell, but instead might want to consider linking up with other fellow travelers, or interact with locals for the coveted insider info. Putting the “we” in the solo can be potentially rewarding and memorable! Traveling solo does not (and should not) necessarily mean alone and scary.
You Can Never Go Wrong With a Family Getaway
Photo courtesy of burningriver via Pixabay; Creative Commons
The advantages of traveling with family are numerous and quite common knowledge. To cite one advantage, having as an objective a travel adventure with one’s family can definitely serve as a wonderful bonding opportunity to create lasting memories or even amend some strained relationships. But just like in solo-traveling, one should not feel constrained by the setup of having one’s family in a travel escapade. Quiet, alone times are permitted in family traveling, and these “selfie” moments can even be made sweeter by the fact that you have someone immediate to share them with. Tons of activities, such as island cruises or the classic swim in the pool and/or the sea, can also be way more fun when done with family.
The key is to be flexible
Understandably, many travelers approach the endeavor with strict objectives and guidelines. Some demand exclusivity, others demand hospitality, while some put emphasis on the journey more than the destination itself. Some even demand something as peculiar as a specific smell for the room. Without in anyway detracting from the importance of setting up travel objectives and careful planning, being open to chance does not diminish a traveler’s objectives and plans; rather it could exponentially enrich the whole traveling experience, ascending it to extra special heights.
Photo courtesy by tresdetres via Pixabay, Creative Commons
Each person has his or her own motivations for traveling. Any seasoned traveler would attest to the horizon-expanding benefits of experiencing something novel and amazing at the same time. Whether it is a vision of sunset’s purple patch or the gentle caress of sand or a chance encounter with a fellow traveler likewise in search of life’s wonders. Flexibility adds spice to the journey and to the destination itself, be it exploring something geologically ambitious like the Galapagos Islands or when returning to more familiar destinations.
The Pleasure-Recognition Weigh in
Traveling in today’s modern world appears to have been largely influenced by what seems at first to be two opposed objectives — the pursuit of pleasure and recognition. The pleasure part draws heavily from the journey, which relies on the traveling process and the companion/s possibly involved. The Dionysian motivation for the pleasure of the senses puts value to the experiential elements that attend to the journey, sometimes more than destination alone. Think of a quiet walk by a hill alone or with glances to a dear partner’s countenance.
Photo courtesy of Wapster via Flickr, Creative Commons
In contrast, the drive for recognition would at times account more for the importance placed on other people’s affirmation. This motivation is attached to a notion nourished by the Internet culture which deems any traveling event to be “true” and of “importance” if one has photos to display as proof for others to see. The jest “Show photos, or it did not happen” is often heard or said among peers, attesting to the value placed upon the “brag factor” of traveling. Here, traveling is done less as something for its own sake (as something pleasurable in itself), but is something for the sake of other people.
Photo courtesy of Roderick Eime via Flickr, Creative Commons
Yet, sticking exclusively to these two motivations — to gain pleasure from the journey or to gain recognition from the destination – does not suffice to cover the whole magic involved in traveling. Choosing between pleasure or recognition, journey or destination, surely misses the point because it is a false choice. What perhaps can be more fruitful is to view both of them as complementary, where each can potentially enhance the domain of the other. One cannot deny the importance of pleasure just as one cannot avoid other people’s existence (compounded by the fact that social media is integrated in most of our lives, for better or worse). In the same way, one cannot remain too stuck to the whole journey and forget about the importance of the destination. A sort of balancing act is in order.
Life is beautiful, realize your adventures
Photo courtesy of Frontierofficial via Flickr, Creative Commons
Whatever your travel objectives, it is important to remember that as with all travels, things can sometimes not go as thought or planned. You can get lost, you’ll likely forget something at home, it can rain just when you’re in the mood for an outdoor activity. Planning is important, but not all things are within our control. The key is to be open, to be flexible, and to look beyond our set traveling objectives. That way, the beauty of life can present itself to us warmly and unexpectedly. Great adventure sometimes begins at the point of the surprising unknown, providing us with the opportunity to make the journey and the destination worth all the effort.